How to Prepare for Windows 7 End of Life

Microsoft recently officially announced the end of life for Windows 7, effective January 14, 2020. This means they will no longer offer Windows 7 support. If you continue to use Windows 7 in the future, your computer is at risk of vulnerabilities and security risks.

This article covers some of your Windows 7 end-of-life alternative options.

Upgrade to Windows 10

While there are still many people using Windows 7, they will eventually need to move to a more secure operating system (OS).

The upgrade process is relatively easy because Microsoft made both versions. Many programs and apps made for earlier versions of Windows still work and update automatically.

However, some older applications can: needs to be updated or not working at all.

Windows recommends upgrading to Windows 10 as you would expect. However, the free upgrade ended on July 26, 2019. Users must now either purchase a full version of the software or purchase a new device with Windows 10 preinstalled.

Your computer must meet the following requirements to use Windows 10:

  • The latest version of Windows 7 SPI or Windows 8.1 Update (find out which bit version you are using).
  • 1GHz processor or faster.
  • 1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit).
  • 16 GB of hard disk space for 32-bit OS or 20 GB for 64-bit OS.
  • DirectX 9 graphics card or higher with WDDM 1.0 driver.
  • A screen resolution of 800 by 600 or higher.

How to upgrade to Windows 10

First, you need to purchase a Windows 10 license through Microsoft or an authorized reseller.

If you buy from Microsoft, you can use the USB option or download the operating system with an ISO file

The USB option is a good choice if your internet connection isn’t stable enough to handle a 4GB download. Microsoft will send a USB stick with Windows 10 to your house.

Upgrade to Windows 10 using the Media Creation Tool

Use this procedure if you did not order a USB stick. After purchasing your Windows 10 license, follow the steps below to install and activate it.

Download the ISO file for your architecture (32-bit or 64-bit) and language. Extract the ISO file to your local file system, removable disk, or burn it to a DVD.

To extract the installation ISO files to a removable USB storage device, you can use an unzip app like: 7zip† Extract the file contents to a folder on your local drive in your existing Windows operating system.

Keep in mind that if you want an option to keep all your files and apps, it’s best to start the process from Windows 7.

If you do a clean install of Windows 10 from a USB drive or DVD, you won’t see this option and your files and apps will be lost.

Start the upgrade by running setup.exe

Windows will guide you through the installation process. The first recommendation is to download drivers, updates, and other optional features. You must accept these options to ensure a successful upgrade.

  • Select your edition of Windows.
  • Read and accept the license terms.
  • Windows’ default installation configuration is to keep your apps and files.
  • Click To install.

It will take a few minutes for your installation to complete. You can find your apps and folders in the same locations on Windows 10 as you do on Windows 7.

Switch to Linux

While Microsoft wouldn’t agree, upgrading to Windows 10 isn’t the only option. Moving to a Linux operating system is a viable alternative.

Many Linux users consider it one of the best alternatives to Windows 7. Some of the reasons you might want to switch include:

  • Less vulnerable to malware and viruses than Windows.
  • Linux is free.
  • Faster, safer and more compatible support and maintenance.
  • More control over your system if you want.
  • Comes with a wide variety of software pre-installed and access to more via a dedicated package manager or software installation tool.
  • Linux updates speed up your system, free up space, and rarely require a reboot.

How to replace Windows 7 with Linux

Back up all your data before doing anything. Then choose which Linux distribution you want to use. Some of the most popular Linux distributions for 2020 are:

  • Ubuntu
  • Linux Mint
  • elementary operating system
  • Pop!_OS
  • Zorin OS
  • MX Linux

Many distributions allow users to Live option booted from a USB to see how it works. If you like it, you can then install it on your system or in a VirtualBox. We will be using Ubuntu for this article.

To try out Ubuntu before installing it on your system, first go to the Ubuntu download page and click Try Ubuntu

If you like how Ubuntu works and are ready to install it, click Install Ubuntu and follow the installation wizard. The process is simple.

Choose to replace Windows 7 with Linux, but remember that all your apps and files will be erased. As mentioned above, you should backup your system first before doing anything.

Leave Windows and switch to Mac

Windows 7’s end of life may be a good reason for you to switch from Windows to Mac† Apple has enjoyed an excellent reputation for many reasons, including:

  • No drivers needed.
  • New versions are free.
  • A diverse Apple ecosystem.
  • Most Windows programs are also available for Mac.

Whether you choose to move to Mac is a matter of personal preference. While it’s true that Apple products tend to be more expensive than Microsoft products, they also age better. So even if you spend more money up front, a new Mac will last longer than a new Windows machine.

Whichever option you choose to proceed with Windows 7 end-of-life, securely back up all your documents, files, and images. If you decide to stick with Windows 7, it is essential to realize that you are putting your computer at risk for security risks.

Help our HDG readers. Can you recommend any other important Windows 7 end-of-life tips?

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